2016 Iowa Caucus Predictability – Up In The Air?
As the nation turns its focus to Iowa, the first state to have a say in who they want to see in the White House, many election watchdogs feel that the only predictable portion of the caucuses is the impeding weather, which doesn’t bode well for anyone .
All of the candidates have been swarming the state, some for months, to get their message out and convince voters to show up and caucus. So what are the oddsmakers focusing on to come up with the numbers on each candidate?
They’ve undeniably have a lot of interesting data to consider with the frontrunners in each party running neck and neck, the coming snow storm which will affect turnout, and the fact that new caucus participants are the key to success for several candidates, and we won’t know until tonight if those new voters were intrigued enough to show up.
The 2016 Presidential election has in some ways redefined politics in the United States. In the past, an FBI investigation, being a socialist, or boycotting a debate would have potentially ruined a candidate’s chances in Iowa, if not the White House completely.
This is not the case in this election, and it shows a distinct change in how Americans are responding to definitive information surrounding candidates. This shift in voter standards must be considered by the odds makers and reflected in the betting lines. Do the odds always match the polls? Not always, but when it comes down to the wire, right before an event you see the odds lining up more with the polls.
For example, until today, Rubio had better odds for the Iowa Caucus than Ted Cruz did. However, Rubio is trailing as third in the polls, and while there are only a few points between Trump and Cruz, Rubio is behind by double digits. As this has solidified, the odds of winning the Iowa Caucus have lined up to reflect this, assigning Cruz better odds than Rubio.
The two frontrunners for each party are very very close in poll numbers, hence their odds are likely to be rather close as well. In polls, Clinton and Sanders are within three points of each other, and Trump and Cruz are within 5 points.
A year ago today, Trump only had 1% support, and Sanders only had 5%. Today Trump is the leader for the GOP and Sanders has become a serious contender on the Democrat side. Tonight could possibly reveal one of the largest political upsets our nation has seen in a great while. The heavy snowfall and chilling temperatures expected tonight will further impact the results with its direct impact on turnout at the caucuses.
This makes things less predictable, and very exciting to bet on. Political enthusiasts who are adventurous will find the number of ‘unknowns’ that can influence the 2016 Iowa Caucus exhilarating, providing enough risk to really make it a gamble and provide true ‘edge of your seat’ betting entertainment. Those who like a sure thing will be disappointed with the Iowa Caucus betting odds because these caucuses are anything but set in stone.
Another level of unpredictability for the Iowa Caucus is it’s impact on any one candidate getting into the White House. While winning Iowa is considered a crucial element for the ultimate winner of the election, it does not guarantee anything for candidates.
Both Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee are former Iowa Caucus winners, and it didn’t really help to keep them in the race long term. Santorum’s Iowa win in 2012 was in direct opposition to poll numbers and odds, and didn’t give him enough momentum to make it to the White House.
The Iowa Caucus is considered one of the most important events in the Presidential election, yet cannot guarantee anything for any of the election hopefuls.
This does deliver a conflicting message about just how important the Iowa Caucus is, but doesn’t change a thing. Candidates are fighting tooth and nail for the win in this small state with few delegates, and tonight’s results will narrow the field of 12 republican candidates quite effectively.
Today may in fact be the last day of several GOP candidates’ campaigns. It is likely to see O’Malley drop out on the democrat side based on the results of tonight’s caucuses. Some candidates, such as Christie, have bleak poll numbers yet are taking a very optimistic approach to Iowa, demonstrating that he believes an upset can legitimately occur. Others, such as Kasich, have already moved on to New Hampshire, clearly prompted by poor poll numbers in Iowa.
So who will win the 2016 Iowa Caucus for each party? The odds are with Trump and Clinton, but the number of unknowns in this particular election coupled with a significant shift in voter standards adds an element of unpredictability that reminds us why they call it a gamble to bet on the results of Presidential primaries and caucuses. I for one prefer these extra dynamics that give my bets some sizzle, and will be following the results like white on rice as results are tallied.